EVENT Sep 20: MRBC IIJA/BEAD Broadband Funding Webinar

Looks like a great event from the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition…

At our last meeting, we discussed having a meeting to talk more about the future activities of the Coalition.  Bill Coleman volunteered to create an online event where we can discuss how the Coalition can bring the rural voice to the Office of Broadband’s IIJA/BEAD planning process.
This event is scheduled for TOMORROW – Tuesday, September 20 from 9:00 – 11:00 am and will include guest experts from around the nation as well as opportunity for small group discussion and reporting.   Details on how to join the meeting are below.
The current line-up includes:

  • Adrianne Furniss – Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
  • Peggy Schaffer – former head of the Maine Broadband Office
  • Doug Dawson – CCG Consulting
  • Brian Ford – NTCA.

If you have ideas for guest experts, please let Bill know at bill@communitytechnologyadvisors.com.
9:00am Welcome – Jay Trusty, Chair, MN Rural Broadband Coalition
9:05am Quick overview of the IIJA Timeline/Planning Process, Adrianne Furniss, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
9:15am Expert Panel – Key considerations for community-focused broadband
9:45am Breakout discussions on key topics
10:15am Small group reporting to the large group
10:40am Prospective role of MN Rural BB Coalition in IIJA process/Ensuring effective community voice (facilitated discussion by Bill Coleman)
10:55am Closing – Jay Trusty

Meeting Information:
Topic: IIJA/BEAD Broadband Funding Webinar
Time: Sep 20, 2022, 09:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 882 3489 1525
Passcode: 834949
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Meeting ID: 882 3489 1525
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Find your local number: https://mncounties-org.zoom.us/u/keJjosOoib

Senator Tina Smith leads Indian Affairs hearing on infrastructure in Prior Lake MN

Senator Smith’s website reports

U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) chaired a productive field hearing for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, focusing on how Tribal Nations can utilize funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Senator Smith helped pass this historic investment in our country’s infrastructure last fall. The hearing was hosted by Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community at the Mystic Lake Center in Prior Lake.

The purpose of this hearing to understand how these transformational infrastructure investments can benefit Tribal Nations in Minnesota.  This bill has $13 billion for Tribal-specific programs and set-asides.  I am committed to making sure this funding is equitably distributed and accessible to Tribal Nations, and that it makes lasting impact.

These $13 billion will help address the longstanding infrastructure inequities in Tribal communities—inequities that impact the health, economic well-being, and safety of Native peoples.  Here are some highlights:

  • There’s $3.5 billion for Indian Health Service sanitation facilities—that will make drinking water safe and improve sewage and waste disposal systems.
  • There’s $3.8 billion for roads and bridges on Tribal lands, to make roadways safer for cars and pedestrians.
  • There’s $2 billion for broadband on Tribal lands, which will improve access to education, telehealth, and economic opportunities.
  • There’s $200 million for climate resilience, so that Tribal Nations can plan for and implement responses to climate change.


Broadband funding results from MN Legislative Session 2022

Here is the most succinct description of future funding approved in Minnesota by the Legislature (from the Minneapolis Star Tribune)…

Broadband: State leaders will spend $50 million over the next three years to expand high-speed internet access through a border-to-border broadband grant program. Minnesota is also using federal dollars for broadband development, with $60.7 million from the American Rescue Plan and $100 million in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act cash.

US Ignite shares Federal Funding Opportunity Tool for Communities

US Ignite reports

To help communities across the country navigate federal grant opportunities for broadband and smart city projects – including new programs created under the $110 billion American Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act –  US Ignite proudly unveils the new ‘Federal Funding Opportunity Tool.’ Using the tool, community leaders seeking federal funding can now target the grants that best match their needs based on areas of investment interest, funding availability, and funding requirements.

“Federal funding programs are complex, and we know that communities need support to navigate the different grant programs that exist,” said Lee Davenport, Director of Community Development at US Ignite. “Our goal is to simplify the process of finding relevant opportunities, and in doing so, help communities use federal dollars to drive local economic growth, close the digital divide, and create smarter communities as a whole.”

US Ignite developed the Federal Funding Opportunity Tool to enhance its existing Federal Funding Opportunities Database. This database originated thanks to funding from the Knight Foundation and now curates listings of federal programs with grants to support various broadband and smart city projects. While users can still browse the full database, those who are less familiar with federal programs will find the funding tool a more efficient way to navigate the opportunities available.

Municipal leaders can access the Federal Funding Opportunity Tool for free at US Ignite’s website (us-ignite.org/tools/fundings).

Stimulus dollars, including those authorized under the American Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, are destined to greatly expand federal grants across the board. For a narrative guide on the American Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act visit the two-part funding series posted on the US Ignite blog.

Connect with the US Ignite Communities team via email by contacting communities@us-ignite.org.